go to top
President Donald Trump seated before addressing the 73rd United Nations General Assembly. President Donald Trump seated before addressing the 73rd United Nations General Assembly, in New York, Sept. 25, 2018 (Photo by Anthony Behar for Sipa via AP Images).

Trump Is the Odd Man Out at the U.N.

Monday, Sept. 23, 2019

When President Donald Trump takes to the United Nations podium Tuesday morning for his third annual address to the General Assembly, his audience may wonder why he bothered to come. By now, little mystery remains about his “America First” worldview. Foreigners are familiar with his commitment to nationalism, skepticism of treaties, affinity for strongmen, passion for walls, fear of immigrants, antipathy toward refugees, attachment to protectionism and denial of climate change. In sum, he rejects the very purposes and priorities of the United Nations. Those who still believe in multilateral cooperation are likely to endure Trump’s speech much as they would the offensive ramblings of an aging uncle over a holiday dinner. It will be a performance to suffer through, for at least one more year.

Trump’s first U.N. appearance in 2017 actually exceeded expectations—an admittedly low bar. The president’s salute to sovereignty, a term he invoked 21 times, resonated with developing countries sensitive to the principle of nonintervention. They welcomed the Westphalian thrust of Trump’s speech, as well as his observation that all U.N. member states should pursue their national interests. (They were less reassured by his promise to wipe North Korea off the map if it proceeded with its nuclear ambitions). ...

To read more,

enter your email address then choose one of the three options below.

Subscribe to World Politics Review and you'll receive instant access to 10,000+ articles in the World Politics Review Library, along with new comprehensive analysis every weekday . . . written by leading topic experts.